BETHANY, W.Va. — Three Bethany College women have been selected to receive Vira I. Heinz Travel Awards that will enable them to expand their educational horizons this summer by studying overseas.

The Vira I. Heinz Travel Awards are presented annually to as many as three sophomore or junior women who have submitted proposals expressing a desire to study abroad. Selection is based on which students have most distinguished themselves in the areas of leadership, character and scholarship and whose proposals show that travel to another country would significantly enhance their educational objectives.

These awards are part of the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship Program for Women in Global Leadership and are funded by the Vira I. Heinz Endowment. The late Vira I. Heinz was a Pittsburgh native who received an honorary Doctor of Religious Education degree from Bethany College in 1969.

Bethany’s three recipients are:

  • Jennifer Naylor of Eighty-Four, Pa., a junior Social Work major.
  • Casey O’Donnell of Canonsburg, Pa., a junior Interdisciplinary Social Studies major.
  • Amber Yarnell of Wooster, Ohio, a sophomore carrying a double major in German and Spanish.

Naylor has already enrolled in an Intermediate Spanish course at Spain’s historic University of Alcala, located approximately 30 miles from Madrid. The Social Work major chose Spain as her destination because she wanted to get a first-hand look at the challenges facing social workers in other countries.

“I want to learn as much about the culture and the people as possible,” Naylor said. “I am also interested in comparing and contrasting the social work in Spain to that in the United States.”

At Bethany, Naylor is a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. She is also a member of Phi Alpha, the Social Work Honor Society, and is Ritual Chair President of the Social Work Program’s Social Awareness Club.

O’Donnell, who is pursuing a track in Secondary Education and a Reading endorsement along with her Social Studies major, will travel to four separate areas of Ireland – Dublin, Belfast, Donegal and Cork – in order to conduct a comparative education study between the United States and Ireland. She plans to tie Ireland’s psychology, history, political and geographic aspects into her study.

“I chose Ireland because, even as a child, it seemed to have a magical quality for me – almost like Heaven on earth,” O’Donnell said. “In some ways, Ireland has always been calling me home and now I finally have this wonderful opportunity to answer that call.”

O’Donnell serves as philanthropy chairman for the Bethany chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, the national coed service fraternity, and is also an active member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. She has been inducted into Kappa Delta Pi, the Education Honor Society, along with Pi Gamma Mu, the Social Science Honor Society. A member of the Student National Education Association (SNEA), she has worked as a Teaching Assistant, writing tutor and note taker.

Yarnell, who recently returned from a Spring Break trip to Costa Rica, will be spending two months in Germany. She will be residing with her advisor’s family in Crailsheim, where she will help children at a local school with their English and also assist with the soccer program. In addition, Amber plans to travel throughout the country and complete a language course to further her knowledge of German.

“I really wanted to go to Germany because I have a passion for the language and have never been to Europe,” Yarnell said. “Since I will be studying abroad in Heidelberg for the fall semester, it gives me a chance to get my feet wet.”

A member of the Bethany College women’s soccer team, Yarnell is secretary of the German Club. She is a founding mother of Delta Epsilon Pi, a new sorority on campus, and serves as Vice President of the sorority. She also works as a lab proctor for Spanish levels I and II and is a Resident Assistant at an all-girls residence hall.

Bethany is one of 15 institutions participating in the Vira I. Heinz Travel Awards program, which is coordinated by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for International Studies.